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3 Reasons She Left Her Corporate Job For Photography | Interview with Michelle Nicole

By Pye Jirsa on June 9th 2015

Exchanging Practicality for Passion

“I used to work in the corporate world. Three years in, I began taking workshops from Scott Robert Lim, an award winning international photographer and world-renowned educator. This awakened a new determination in me. After four years in the corporate world, I decided to take a leap of faith and focus on photography full time.” – Michelle Nicole

From Corporate America to Full Time Photographer

Reason #1: Wanting more experiences in life

“I wanted to network; I wanted to build a craft that I feel like I could own”Michelle Nicole


I found it interesting that Michelle brought up the term “Experience” during our interview because I recently read an article about the science of materialistic things vs. experience. Basically, the study says that investing in experiences has a more lasting and long term benefit than investing in materialistic things. Your job is an investment, it’s where you spend most of your time, and if it’s not a gratifying experience then maybe it’s time to find a new job.

Reason #2: Find new challenges

I wanted a bigger challenge that I can own – Michelle Nicole


Michelle helped manage a team of 16 people at her corporate job, which was challenging, but it wasn’t the challenge she was looking for. She wasn’t just looking for challenges that she could overcome; she wanted something that she could be proud of. Starting and maintaining a photography business was a challenge that she wanted to take on because she felt it would be more rewarding.

Reason #3: To find something you can be passionate about

“I wanted to find something I could really love and enjoy doing” – Michelle Nicole

Katie + Ryan

Michelle was happy where she was in her corporate job, but that’s not where her passion was. Michelle has had a passion for photography from a young age and now she had the opportunity to pursue it. When she became a full-time photographer, it changed her work-life balance. She began to enjoy her work much more, and her overall life experience positively increased. You’ll try harder and be more productive working on things you’re passionate about.

Conclusion and More Info

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Q&A Discussions

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  1. Sky Simone

    Good read

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  2. Adrian Ong

    She is an inspiration to photographers or any people who wants to find their own path and build their own business. This is not to say that we can predict her future but rather she will grow old and know that one day in her life she did what she was passionate about and not witheld herself of that opportunity. By the looks of it, Michelle will succeed in her chosen path because she produces quality imagery. She will not go hungry as long as her photos continue to soar. Good luck Michelle, may you be blessed.

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  3. Paddy McDougall

    Having a negative mind won’t give you a positive life. Boy we are a grumpy bunch of pessimists. Good luck Michelle both in the good and the rough.

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  4. Yankel Adler

    Oh Man,

    Maybe I need a new job

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  5. Thomas Horton

    While these stories are nice to read, I fear they give the an incomplete view. How about stories about how people switched from corporate work to follow their passion about photography…. and failed.

    I bet there are more of the latter than the former.

    People considering dumping their existing career to follow their dream really need to see both sides.

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    • J. Dennis Thomas


      Also get back to us in 5 years, 10 years, or 15 years. Where will she be then? How much will she ” love and adore” her artistic endeavor when times are lean and she has to take gigs that aren’t “adorable” just to make ends meet?

      Things always look bright and rosy at the beginning.

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    • Richard Bremer

      I agree with this, it would be interesting to hear from the failing side as well. But with a positive twist, to learn from their experience! Maybe they quit because of things that we can avoid if we know about them. Or maybe their failure resulted in something else for them that is really positive (failed at a photography business but because of the experience started out in graphic design (or whatever) and really happy now).

      Failing at something is not negative in it’s core. It’s how you react to failure that determines it’s value.

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    • Jason Henington

      Why is it that every time I scroll down to the comments section a ridiculous number of comments are complaints? Do people really have nothing positive to say? I thought it was a very insightful and interesting look into the transition of ONE photographer from corporate America to photography. I am so annoyed with the negativity in the photography community.

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    • Raoni Franco

      And I am tired of useless positive comments like: good one!! That was nice!! Great story!!……………I think comment sections are good to further develop the main subject of the post, and I don´t think writing “Cute story!!” will do that. As far as I know, a big part o life is problem solving, and as soon as we face it like it is like adults and stop feeling down about the rocks in the our way (and start to talk about them just as naturally as when we speak about the flowers), we can take the steps we want to take with a sure foot and, ironically, a trully positive (not “cute rainbow” positive) perspective.

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    • Daniel Thullen

      Gent’s, a lot of the “positive” comments are just to receive the comment points. That said, we can all use success stories as inspiration once in a while. If we put in the effort necessary, most of us will reach some a level of “success” to which we are satisfied.

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    • J. Dennis Thomas

      “Why is it that every time I scroll down to the comments section a ridiculous number of comments are complaints? Do people really have nothing positive to say? ”

      Thanks for adding to the complaints section.

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    • Dustin Baugh

      Well she’s off to a good start marketing herself and getting free exposure on sites like this. Many of us have been toiling in the dark for years or decades and haven’t had a break like this.

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